Many Bible readers don’t see any point in concerning themselves with the Middle East peace negotiations. “What will happen is what is supposed to happen,” is their argument, and, “doesn’t there have to be a major war before the Lord can establish His Kingdom?! Why then should we be supporting peace efforts?” And then you hear, ” won’t that be a wrong kind of peace anyway?!” But is this really a biblical way of seeing things?
To make one thing clear from the start: I don’t believe for one minute that politicians can through their efforts establish a Messianic Kingdom of peace. Lions will eat lambs and other innocent herbivores until the Messiah commands peace. But until then we have a time of testing for which very specific ethical standards apply. There are, for example, the promises of Jesus for “the meek”, for “those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,” for “the merciful” and “the peacemakers” (Matthew 5;1ff).
A time will most certainly come when the Messiah will ask His people how they treated the sojourner in their midst, whether they remembered that they themselves were once sojourners and whether they really did become a light to the Gentiles. But I am convinced that He will also call those to account who have sown violence and hate, made cunningly untenable promises, played with bogus cards and pursued their own interests under false pretenses.
In the parable of “the entrusted talents” (Matthew 25:14ff) Jesus explains that everyone will one day be asked by God what he did with his gifts. This applies to the Jewish people – but also to those who waste astronomical sums of development funds and at the same time make a show of their apparent need. This applies to all those who have extracted endless wealth from the desert sands and mindlessly squandered it without wasting as much as a thought on how one could turn it into meaningful use.
If I understand the Bible rightly, there is no such thing as an onlooker in the Kingdom of God. This means that the politicians who have exerted unjust pressure, distracted from their own problems through pointless political fervour and applied double standards, will also be called to account. If that happens, the so-called ordinary people cannot abdicate their responsibility either, having naively allowed themselves to be duped by propaganda and chased after cascades of oh so cherished clichees. By the way, those who have buried their talent or think with full objectivity that they can remain innocent by doing nothing, will also have some explaining to do.
We find orientation by giving some thought to the spirit of the times – and then, most importantly, by keeping our Bibles open next to our newspapers. Read you Bible! We can take influence when we take time for meditation and bring our thoughts in prayer before our Father in Heaven. The intercessors are the people who change the world. Our task is to help you understand better what is happening here in the Middle East. But while the politicians act, let us not forget to lift our hands in order to negotiate with the Creator of the world. Those are the talks which are definitely worth holding!
Translation by Nicola Vollkommer